by Eric Stearley
Wabash Marketplace celebrated past accomplishments and looked toward the future during their informal annual meeting Thursday, Jan. 30. The group of nearly 50 met at Marelli’s, the recently opened boutique located at 35 W. Market Street, before heading to the convention and visitors bureau welcome center for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a brief business meeting. After serving as Wabash Marketplace president for several years, Parker Beauchamp passed the torch to Wabash City Schools Superintendent Jason Callahan.
“I kind of looked around and thought about who was best positioned and who I trusted the most to follow, and he was obviously my “A” pick,” said Beauchamp. “He’ll do a really, really good job.”
After steering the Marketplace ship for half a decade, Beauchamp saw this as the perfect time to hand the reigns to Callahan.
“Running with something for a long time, you run the risk of breaking it because you don’t know when to get out of the way,”
said Beauchamp. “Once Patrick came on, it was clear that I need to bounce as soon as possible and make sure that we’ve got good leadership in the seats that can keep coming up, and we can have a more responsible turn over of board leadership, so the timing was perfect.”
Executive Director Patrick Sullivan took over the organization’s only paid position just 10 months ago. He spoke briefly about the Marketplace’s accomplishments and previewed the coming year’s goals and mission to close the meeting.
The real spotlight, however, was on Jason Callahan as he took over the lead role on the organization’s board. The Wabash City Schools superintendent plays a leading role in several community organizations, including co-founding Wabash County Promise, but saw this as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the community as a whole.
“Any board that I’m a part of, I want to be an important part,” said Callahan. “I want to help drive it. I wasn’t looking for it, and I’m certainly humbled by the opportunity.”
When Callahan became superintendent of our city’s schools, he inherited a position on the Marketplace board. He recalled all the changes he’s seen to downtown since arriving in Wabash in 2005, and he hopes to see the revival and restoration continue.
“Wabash City Schools has always been about the community, and we feel like the strength of the community is tied directly to the strength of our schools,” said Callahan. “So the stronger the community, the stronger our schools, and really, downtown is the life blood of this community, and the heart of it.”
Callahan looks to continue the Marketplace mission by supporting downtown merchants and fostering a sense of community as restoration efforts continue and businesses like Marelli’s choose to open their doors in downtown Wabash. He says that the Stellar Communities Grant will be at the forefront of the organization’s efforts this year.
“The thing with Stellar is, we’re doing these things anyhow. Stellar will just help us speed up what we plan to do,” said Callahan.